Top 10 Best Tenor Ukuleles

If you like the sweet, classic sound of the ukulele but are of larger stature, then you might enjoy playing the tenor ukulele. Its larger size makes it easier for those with larger hands to handle, and while its tone is a bit deeper than that of a soprano or concert uke, it doesn’t stray into bass territory.
We spent hours comparing dozens of the most popular tenor ukuleles on the market, skipping the obviously cheap ones as well as the high-end, professional models. After reading hundreds of reviews, we created this extensive list, which includes some old favorites and some newcomers to the ukulele marketplace. Each of these ten top tenor ukuleles gets good marks from players new and experienced alike, and each has some unique features that appeal to different people.

Lohanu LU-T Tenor Ukulele Bundle

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The Lohanu LU-T tenor ukulele is constructed of Sapele and mahogany, with a contrasting rosewood fingerboard and bridge. Handmade ABS bindings and chrome die-cast tuning machines add visual appeal as well as value. This ukulele arrives pre-strung with Aquila stings and comes with many extras including a strap, tuner with batteries included, soft-sided case, two picks and a pick holder. A spare set of Aquila strings, free bonus ukulele video lessons, and pre-installed strap buttons make this ukulele bundle ideal for anyone who wants to get started the easy way.

Pros:

  • Arched back for better sound
  • Strap buttons are pre-installed

Cons:

  • Some buyers have had difficulty with the enclosed tuner

Folks Who Purchased This Said:

  • For the price, you cannot beat this. The tone is nice, and all the extras are appreciated.
  • Beautiful uke with great sound. Bundle is well worth the price.
  • Looks, feels, and sounds great. Really glad I bought it!
  • Well-finished laminate that plays with good intonation up the fretboard. This is a nice tenor uke package for its price, ideal for beach trips and campouts.

Who should buy this ukulele?

This tenor uke package is ideal for anyone who wants to lean to play the ukulele and continue enjoying the instrument they learned on long after they’ve familiarized themselves with the basics. It also appeals to mid-level players who want to expand their existing soprano / concert uke skills to a tenor ukulele, or who want to move into a better instrument without spending a lot of money.

 

Hricane Tenor Ukulele UKS-1 Professional Ukulele Starter

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The Hricane tenor ukulele features a beautiful Sapele body with contrasting rosewood fingerboard and bridge, white body binding, and white nylon Aquila strings. A subtle decorative motif adorns the instrument’s soundhole, adding to its attractive appearance. High-quality tuning machines assure plenty of in-tune playing enjoyment once the strings have stretched and settled. The sound is rich and melodious, with plenty of resonance. This value bundle includes a soft-sided gig bag with a zippered compartment for accessories.

Pros:

  • Excellent craftsmanship
  • 30 days money back – 12 months guarantee against manufacturing defects

Cons:

  • No tuner included in starter pack

Folks Who Purchased This Said:

  • Perfect entry level uke
  • Perfect for my daughter’s birthday. great quality and sounds good also.
  • This ukulele is one of the best in its price range.

Who should buy this ukulele?

Hricane has a good reputation for quality, making this tenor ukulele a good choice for anyone who wants a decent instrument at an affordable price. While it might not be suitable for formal concert use, the UKS-1 tenor uke offers an appealing combination of value and beautiful sound, making it ideal for those who want to play for fun or entertain friends. Beginners, intermediate players, and even those with years of playing experience are likely to enjoy everything this well-built ukulele has to offer.

 

Donner Tenor Ukulele Mahogany Body

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If you’re searching for a tenor ukulele with a classic appearance, this might just be the one! Its mahogany body is beautifully finished, with just a touch of simple embellishment surrounding the sound hole. The fretboard and fingerboard are made with contrasting rosewood, and the chrome-plated guitar style tuners are fitted with wooden tuning keys for a look that’s often associated with vintage instruments. This ukulele features 18 brass frets with fret marks installed at the 5th, 7th, 9th, and 12th positions. It comes complete with some nice extras, including a gig bag, a strap, extra strings, and a digital clip-on tuner.

Pros:

  • High-quality carbon-nylon strings included
  • Wooden tuning keys offer an authentic, vintage look

Cons:

  • Some reviewers state that the free neck strap isn’t the best quality

Folks Who Purchased This Said:

  • Great uke regardless of price.
  • Perfect pack for an aspiring ukulele or a seasoned veteran.
  • Excellent construction for a nice, inexpensive uke.

Who should buy this ukulele?

The Donner DUT-1 offers plenty of value for its price, making it a good ukulele for a beginner who isn’t sure whether this is the right instrument for them. Players give this ukulele good marks for its sound too, so those with more experience are likely to appreciate it as well. While it’s not intended for professional use, it is definitely a big step up from cheap, tinny-sounding instruments that leave their players and listeners feeling disappointed.

 

Aklot Solid Mahogany Tenor Ukulele Starter Pack

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Featuring a solid mahogany soundboard with edge chamfering and a unique pigeon bridge, this Aklot tenor ukulele offers acoustic / electric capabilities. Its advanced tuner boasts a 1:18 pure copper gear for finer, more stable tuning than you get with brass plated zinc alloy. The ukulele includes a 3-band preamp installed, plus an onboard electric tuner and a 1/4“ mono jack output for compatibility with standard amplifiers. A reinforcing bib connects the instrument’s neck to its body, providing added durability for years of enjoyable playing. The Aklot tenor ukulele arrives pre-strung with Aquila strings. Nine online lessons are included, along with a beginner’s instruction booklet. A zippered case, strap, felt picks, spare strings, and cleaning cloth add extra value.

Pros:

  • Value pack contains everything a beginner needs to get started
  • Solid wood soundboards tend to improve with age; instrument will sound better as time passes

Cons:

  • Does not include a hard case

Folks Who Purchased This Said:

  • I have had many ukes and I would not have a problem recommending this one to someone starting out or someone who doesn’t always want to play their $1000 uke.
  • Great buy! This is a really good instrument with a solid feel and a nice sound.
  • I am a bit of a brand snob when it comes to instruments, but this one looked like a decent idea for a gift so I picked it up. Feels great, looks great, sounds great, A+ for quality. Overall, I’m pleased and surprised.

Who should buy this ukulele?

Despite its price, which is significantly lower than some others, the Aklot tenor ukulele delivers a beautiful performance, and it comes with a number of accessories. Buyers are overwhelmingly pleased with its sound and quality, as well as its attractive appearance. This ukulele is a great choice for beginners and intermediate players, and those with more experience might like to use it for practice and/or outdoor fun.

 

Caramel CT102A Zebra Wood Tenor Acoustic Ukulele

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Made with beautiful zebra wood for a unique, visually appealing appearance, the Caramel CT102A tenor ukulele features real buffalo bone nut and saddle for better tone. The dark-colored rosewood bridge and fingerboard provide a nice feel as well as a lovely look, and the instrument’s appearance is further enhanced via a beautiful sunburst motif that surrounds the soundhole.

Pros:

  • Sound quality is comparable to more expensive tenor ukuleles
  • Unique yet tasteful design

Cons:

  • Slight cosmetic issues are reported on some ukuleles; i.e. woodgrain does not always match up perfectly where book-matched sides meet at the body’s base

Folks Who Purchased This Said:

  • The price is amazing for the unique design and construction.
  • Great starter ukulele, good fit for my short / fat fingers, and it’s getting me hooked on the ukulele.
  • Unbelievable value, and required zero setup right out of the box.
  • Sound quality is comparable to my $100 Cordoba Concert with slightly more bass resonance.
  • Looks and sounds good, and it plays wonderfully. I love this tenor ukulele!

Who should buy this ukulele?

If you’re looking for a unique-looking tenor ukulele and you like the way zebrawood looks, feels, and performs, then you’re likely to appreciate the Caramel CT102A. This isn’t just a beautiful instrument; it also sounds fantastic and is easy to play. It’s ideal for intermediate musicians who are ready to step into a better-quality instrument but who don’t want to make a big investment, and it’s also well-suited to beginners. Even experienced players give this tenor uke high marks, often stating that the sound is comparable to that of costlier instruments – so if you’re interested in a cheap tenor ukulele to take to the beach or your next camping trip, this one is well worth considering.

 

Makanu Mahogany Tenor Ukulele with Gig Bag

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A high-quality bone nut and saddle, whole mahogany body, and beautiful tattooed sound hole make the Makanu tenor ukulele a standout. Fitted with nylon strings and pre-tuned prior to shipping, this lovely ukulele features a rosewood fingerboard and bridge that offers just a touch of subtle contrast with the body while keeping the look classic. This tenor ukulele offers a rich, clear sound that players appreciate, and it comes with a zippered gig bag for easy transport.

Pros:

  • Real bone nut and saddle contribute to superior intonation
  • Well-constructed; no reported flaws in workmanship

Cons:

  • Strings are OK, but not best-quality; some reviewers mention that switching to high-quality strings such as Aquila improves the sound

Folks Who Purchased This Said:

  • This is a good introductory instrument with a nice sound.
  • Much easier to play than my starter soprano uke.
  • As a classical guitarist of 50+ years, the tenor size is perfect for me. It’s easy to pick up and play, the sound is lovely, and I’m not having problems staying in tune.
  • Nice little uke for the money.
  • Great buy! Love the etching and it plays and sounds awesome. Others talked about rough areas along the frets, mine is nice and smooth.

Who should buy this ukulele?

If price is a deciding factor and you want an instrument that sounds good too, then take a look at this Makanu tenor ukulele. Although the brand was introduced just a few years ago, it’s already getting good marks from players new and experienced alike. If you’re looking for a ukulele that you can have fun with, this one is worth a peek – no matter what your experience level. If you’re brand new to the ukulele and you want a starter pack with extras, you might prefer something that comes with more than just the gig bag that’s included with this one.

 

Cordoba 22T-CE Tenor Cutaway Ukulele

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Thanks to a cutaway body design and onboard electronics, the Cordoba 22T-CE Tenor Cutaway Ukulele offers plenty of versatility as well as outstanding playability. Its sound is sweet and rich, so players and audiences appreciate it. A solid spruce top and Indian rosewood back and sides contribute to this tenor uke’s beautiful tone as well as its attractive appearance, which is further augmented by a high-gloss finish and inlaid rope rosette and purfling. A mahogany neck imparts strength, while rosewood bridge and fingerboard provide a smooth feel as well as visual contrast. This versatile ukulele can be enjoyed acoustically, but onboard Cordoba electronics allow you to plug and play if you like.

Pros:

  • Low action for effortless playing
  • Spruce and rosewood combine to impart a warm, full tone

Cons:

  • No endpin / strap button included; available as an after-market add-on

Folks Who Purchased This Said:

  • Always mellow and pleasing to the ear!
  • Well worth every penny – reminds me of my very expensive Martin guitar.
  • Smart wood choice – I’m an old multi-instrument picker finally going to the ukulele…love the solid spruce top, superb craftsmanship and sweet sounds
  • Awesome instrument with great action! This is my second Cordoba ukulele and they haven’t let me down so far…consistent quality!

Who should buy this ukulele?

Not the most expensive tenor ukulele, nor the cheapest, the Cordoba 22T-CE Tenor Cutaway ukulele represents a higher investment than some other models while offering excellent craftsmanship, a body design that allows you to play a wider range of notes, and onboard electronics for the versatility of an acoustic/electric ukulele. Serious beginners and mid-level players who know that they want to use an amplifier will appreciate this uke, as will more seasoned players. If you’re looking for a beach ukulele that can handle some abuse, you’re probably better off with a cheaper model.

 

Kala MK-T Tenor Ukulele Bundle

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An Agathis body and mahogany neck combine with a contrasting rosewood fingerboard and bridge, giving the Kala MK-T tenor ukulele a balanced, appealing appearance. Geared tuners keep strings firmly in place once they’ve finished stretching and settling in, and a satin finish offers a nice sheen without imparting an overly slick feel. The bundle offers quite a bit of value; buyers receive a gig bag, a clip on tuner, an Austin Bazaar instructional DVD, and a handy polishing cloth to remove smudges and keep the instrument looking its best.

Pros:

  • Instructional DVD introduces ukulele and helps beginners get started with tuning
  • Digital chromatic tuner clips on so you can see tuning at a glance and correct issues immediately

Cons:

  • Decorative grommets around the tuning pegs sometimes make a little buzz while playing

Folks Who Purchased This Said:

  • Nice first-time uke! It looks and sounds nice for a value ukulele, and is stringed properly.
  • This ukulele is budget-level but that’s exactly what I paid for and expected. Great practice and knock-around uke.
  • Very nice ukulele. Fit and finish is good, no rough edges.
  • Great sound and holds a tune well. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a fun instrument.
  • This is a great beginners ukulele that comes with necessary accessories.

Who should buy this ukulele?

The Kala MK-T tenor ukulele bundle is very poplar across the board – students, new players, mid-level players, and those with more experience tend to be very happy with its combination of good sound, moderate cost, and great looks. If you’re brand new to the ukulele, this is probably a great option given all the extras that come with it. It’s of better quality than the cheap ukes that many people buy when they first decide to play, making it a good choice for those who want a tenor ukulele that they can really enjoy playing. At the same time, it’s inexpensive enough to be a practical instrument for fun, carefree activities like travel, camping, and beach bonfires; if anything happens to it, you can easily replace it without breaking the bank.

 

Luna Mahogany Series Tattoo Tenor Ukulele

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Beautifully embellished with a traditional Hawaiian body art design and fret markers shaped like sharks’ teeth, the Luna Mahogany Series Tattoo Tenor Ukulele pays tribute to the Island lifestyle while offering plenty of practical details that add value. Its top is crafted of select mahogany, while its neck, back, and sides are made of standard mahogany. The bridge and fretboard are of rosewood, and the ukulele arrives with premium Aquila nylgut strings in place.

Pros:

  • Many attractive details including Hawaiian tattoo design and sharks’ tooth shaped fret markers
  • Premium Aquila nylgut strings provide a sweet sound and please most reviewers

Cons:

  • Some buyers state that the wood finish is a bit darker than it appears in photos

Folks Who Purchased This Said:

  • I could not be happier for price value! For the “not pro” needing the best of the best, this works perfectly.
  • Very happy with this tenor ukulele. It has a wonderful sound, is light weight and seems to be well built plus the Tattoo design makes it more interesting to look at.
  • Has a nice, mellow sound with no buzzing or odd sounds coming from the strings.
  • Whether playing or listening to it, it’s hard not to smile! I highly recommend this instrument.

Who should buy this ukulele?

If you’re looking for a nice combination of unique looks, playability and low price, then you’ll probably appreciate this Luna tenor ukulele. It’s not too expensive to take along on outings, yet it sounds almost as good as a much more expensive model. Anyone who enjoys playing the ukulele (or who wants to learn on a good instrument rather than the cheapest of the cheap) will probably have fun with this ukulele while putting smiles on listeners’ faces.

 

Hola! Music HM-127MG+ Deluxe Mahogany Tenor Ukulele Bundle

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The Hola! HM-127 tenor ukulele is part of the manufacturer’s deluxe series, and is made with premium components that combine to impart long-lasting quality. This ukulele features a mahogany body, a nato wood neck, and a traditional rosewood fretboard and bridge. With 18 silver nickel frets, it offers fret position marks at the 5th, 7th, 10th, 12th, and 15th frets, plus geared die-cast chrome tuners. White body binding provides a touch of contrast. This ukulele arrives pre-strung with premium Italian Aquila Nylgut strings, and is fitted with a real bone nut and saddle. The bundle includes a padded, zippered gig bag, a neck strap, and a set of ukulele picks.

Pros:

  • Correct intonation; chords higher up on the fret sound true.
  • Has great balance and plays easily.

Cons:

  • Some reviewers complain of occasional sharp edges on areas such as the nut and frets; these were easily smoothed with a nail file

Folks Who Purchased This Said:

  • This is a very good ukulele for the price. I have been playing the guitar for over 10 years and I am satisfied with the tone and playability. I would recommend highly to anyone.
  • This is a big improvement for Hola! ukuleles. Well-made with a better than expected wood finish.
  • Sound quality is very good. I have owned several ukuleles over the years including Kamaka and have a good reference point to compare.
  • Better than ukes priced twice the price that I tried at music stores. Highly recommend this.

Who should buy this ukulele?

Thanks to all the extras that come with the Hola! HM-127MG tenor ukulele, it’s a great choice for beginners as well as anyone who’s looking for a combination of mid-range quality plus affordability. Those with more experience are likely to appreciate this tenor uke for its usefulness as a fun stand-in for expensive instruments that might be damaged during casual outings.

 

Our Key Considerations

Player’s Level of Experience and Intended Use- How much experience do you have? What do you expect to do with your instrument once it arrives? If you’re a brand new player or someone who just wants a knockabout instrument that sounds fairly good, then you’re likely to be quite satisfied with a mid-range model that comes in at less than $100. If you’re an expert player who expects the very best, then you’re likely to enjoy a better-quality instrument. Keep in mind, some of the less expensive ukuleles are easy to modify; adding high-end strings and geared Grover tuners are simple, inexpensive ways to make a cheap uke sound like one that cost twice as much.
Construction and Materials- If you want a ukulele that sounds good, then it’s important to look for one made with real wood components. Traditional choices like mahogany, spruce, Sapele, and zebra wood result in a warm, pleasant sound. If you don’t mind paying quite a bit more for true Hawaiian tradition, then consider a Koa wood ukulele. It’s a good idea to protect your investment and prevent wear and tear if you do this; you might want to get a cheaper instrument for long practice sessions, travel, and outdoor use.
Cost- Unless money is no object, then price will probably be one of the deciding factors in your choice. The good news is that there are quite a few nice (but comparatively cheap) tenor ukuleles on the market. It’s not at all difficult to find one that appeals to you and suits your needs for $100 or less.
Accessories and Extras- If you’ve been playing the ukulele for a long time, you probably have more than your share of cases and gig bags, and you probably have no use for add-ons like instructional DVDs or online lessons. If you’re starting from scratch though, you’ll probably appreciate some extras that help you get started, even if they’re not the finest accessories available – after all, you can always spend a few bucks later and get a better neck strap, a hard case, a top-of the line tuner, and other things that elevate your overall playing experience.
Acoustic or Acoustic / Electric
This is a matter of personal preference and practicality. If you think you’d like to play with an amp (something you’ll probably want to do if you find yourself in front of an audience at some point), then you might like the versatility that an acoustic electric tenor ukulele offers. Otherwise, an acoustic model will do the trick.